Update from us, to you.

These turbulent times – that affect all of us – emphasize the importance of freedom of expression and a free press. At the same time, it is clear that the overwhelming flow of information, creates tension and confusion in society. The traditional role of the journalist is shifting from an increase in interpreting and curating in addition to identifying and publishing news. The world of PR also continues to evolve. New developments remind us of the importance of patient listening before passing judgment. And of the power of pausing and evaluating before sharing an opinion. Speaking your mind continues to hold importance, but it is essential to always do so with consideration and modesty. And never without checking the facts.

An important question – also for many of our clients – is how a brand can maintain relevance in times of crisis. In general, crisis communications in the corona era is a delicate matter and requires empathetic and involved (PR-)advisors.

In this newsletter we would like to share some stories that reflect how we – side by side with our clients – have adapted to a new reality in recent months.

… So amid all of these developments, how is Coebergh doing?

Unity and Solidarity

A crisis drives unity, solidarity but also creativity, as we have seen in recent months. There have been countless new initiatives. The consumer and the media are both more critical than ever. Striking examples of successful crisis-driven initiatives by our clients are the substantial food bank donation by KFC and the decision by Koninklijke Auping to assign part of its production facilities to the development of medically approved face masks. These kinds of powerful initiatives motivate and inspire us and we are proud to share these impactful social contributions with the world.

But there are also other initiatives that we are proud to be a part of. For example, the prestigious Bold by Veuve Clicquot, the famous international award for businesswomen of which we have been a preferred partner for years. Or the Louise Bourgeois exhibition with work by this iconic artist in Museum Voorlinden, we were involved in earlier this year. On behalf of IKEA, we presented a vegetable version of the world-famous Swedish balls to the press. Recently, we announced that IKEA will be investing an additional 600 million euros in sustainability in the coming years. The company has the ambition to be completely climate neutral by 2030.

Since our founding in 1997, we have the privilege of partnering with independent thinkers, energetic entrepreneurs and connecting leaders. We are happy to contribute to their ambition to use this crisis to make it a better world. For ourselves and for future generations.

Creative anticipation

It is obviously not done to opportunistically cash in on the corona crisis. But constructively anticipating offers many companies and brands an opportunity to show their best side. We are – for instance – proud of Postillion Hotels, which organized the very first ‘six feet proof’ conference in the Netherlands, in its Amsterdam branch. The energetic and driven CEO of the hotel chain actively and visibly participates in the public discussion about the safe and responsible provision of hotel and conference services.

The restrained, but festive opening of Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American received a lot of media attention earlier this year. And Hotel De L’Europe Amsterdam recently introduced a special concept for the use of its beautiful suites.

KFC decided to temporarily say goodbye to the iconic pay-off “It’s finger lickin’ good” because it doesn’t fit the current reality. The brand also adapted its logo to emphasize the importance of social distancing in a playful way. A smart way to communicate a serious topic in a light-hearted way.

More than ever, brands are involving their fans in the brand experience, mostly via Instagram. Instagram stories are currently the quick and personal way for brands to get and stay in touch with followers. Take for example artist Ines Longevial, who designs her own filters, or Jacquemus – 2.6 million followers! – with his personalized stickers.

We have asked a number of designers to create artistic backgrounds for virtual meetings on Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. Our collection of original virtual backdrops add color, originality and life to your online meetings.

Crisis PR

Never waste a good crisis. This is a time in which many brands have the opportunity to increase their relevance for stakeholders. Companies that take advantage of the current situation or at the expense of a good cause are punished, and rightfully so. Factual, modest and clear communication is required. Our crisis team consists of highly experienced communication specialists who have been assisting clients in the private and public sector for years in difficult and reputation-threatening situations. The importance of professional Issue Management and Crisis PR is now more visible than ever. We help our loyal and new clients 24/7 with crises and issues. Our legal expertise comes in handy in delicate situations.

Artists from across the globe have to consider art exhibitions and public performances in a six-foot setting. The Dutch artists Jólan van der Wiel and Nick Verstand have cultivated the reality of social distancing into a unique, fascinating and above all functional work of art.

We are also proud to introduce Underpromise: a new visual content creation agency that focuses on the representation of artists and fast content solutions. By linking artists to brands, Underpromise delivers high-quality content without expensive buyouts, usage restrictions or other hassles. Coebergh founder Gervaise Coebergh is also involved in this new venture.

*Image by Kevin Osepa, representing Underpromise, for Vogue Global

What an honor! We won a Sabre Award in the Home & Furniture category, for our efforts and achievements in IKEA’s partnership with Sonos.

This crisis is also humbling. We are aware of the enormous challenges many are facing and we are fortunate to serve wonderful customers in these unprecedented times and to be involved in initiatives that really make a difference. This is a privilege and it requires unwavering effort, dedication and commitment.

We are also very aware of our own vulnerability and that is why nurturing warm relationships is more important than ever. We hope to see you again soon and – on behalf of the entire Coebergh team – wish you all the best.

Stay healthy and safe!

Gervaise Coebergh & Kiki Hirschfeldt